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December 9, 2010

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Food disposal unit could slash city waste

A FOOD disposal system that shreds kitchen waste so that it can be treated alongside sewage could hugely reduce the city's garbage output, say experts.

A pilot program involving 100 Shanghai families suggested that even if only 10 percent of residents installed disposers, the city's daily waste would decrease by 70 percent.

"Widespread installation of the unit could relieve pressure on the city's garbage processing plants," Dong Bin, a professor of Tongji University's National Engineer Research Center for Urban Pollution Control, said yesterday.

More than 60 percent of the city's 20,000 tons of daily waste is food. It contains large amount of oil that make it difficult to control burning temperatures during processing.

But the challenge facing the authorities is persuading local families to invest in the expensive device.

The unit, which is installed under a kitchen sink, shreds food waste into pieces that are small enough to pass through the plumbing system and be treated along with sewage.

The average price is 5,000 yuan (US$752).

"I wouldn't pay that much to buy the machine as it won't bring much convenience to me," said Zhou Min, 26, a newly married local resident.

"If the city government will subsidize it, I'd be willing to install it," said Ding Xin, a local white-collar worker.

Huang Xinghua, deputy director of the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau, also supported the units, saying they could help reduce the smell of the city's dump carts.

Presently, there is no significant garbage sorting in Shanghai.


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